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Update on IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Editor's note: This is cross-posted from the Indian Health Service Director's blog.

The Rosebud IHS Service Unit has achieved designation as a Baby-Friendly® Hospital, which makes it the first hospital to achieve this designation in the Indian Health Service and in the state of South Dakota. This prestigious award is given to facilities that practice the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Research shows that following the Ten Steps increases exclusive breastfeeding, and this helps to reduce obesity and diabetes in the population.

Co-administered by the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an evidence-based practice care model designed to protect and promote breastfeeding as the safest, healthiest way to nourish babies. Hospitals that achieve Baby-Friendly status are committed to promoting and protecting breastfeeding at all stages, including prenatal counseling, inpatient services, and community awareness. Core components of the initiative promote the benefits of breastfeeding, such as skin-to-skin contact between mom and infant, and non-separation of mother and infant.

As a result of this initiative at Rosebud IHS Hospital, breastfeeding initiation rates are now consistently in the 90th percentile and exclusive breastfeeding rates have continued to climb.

"The staff and providers at Rosebud have made this program a success, and their hard work and dedication to protecting breastfeeding is evident," says Clifton Kenon Jr., Maternal Child Health Program Manager for Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service.

"Baby-Friendly at Rosebud is a reality because every single person made a commitment to making the program a success, which is an attribute we pride ourselves on at Rosebud," says Sophie Two Hawk, M.D., Chief Executive Officer at Rosebud Hospital.

Rosebud's achievement started as a campaign to decrease childhood obesity, through the First Lady's "Let's Move in Indian Country" initiative. Our goal in the IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is to have all 13 IHS hospitals with obstetric services achieve the designation.

Please join us in congratulating Rosebud IHS Hospital for becoming one of the less than 5 percent of hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly in the U.S. Their work to promote breastfeeding will help improve the health of their community for generations to come.

Dr. Yvette Roubideaux is the Indian Health Service Director at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services